A collaborative effort between SLIPKNOT’S own percussionist/ videographer M. Shawn Crahan and director P.R. Brown, the masked Iowa contingent’s “Snuff” short film has stunned the band’s loyal fans, and garnered some amazing attention to the band’s artistic endeavors worldwide. Offering a pained introspection departing from the hard and heavy staple sound, and a gorgeously shot film with some big name actors, “Snuff” both sonically and visually marks another step forward in Slipknot’s ever-evolving career. While we already spoke with M. Shawn Crahan (“Clown”) about his vision and execution of the film (if you missed that interview click here), here we sit down with director Paul Brown to gain his perspective and insight on what went in to the making of this epic short film.
RR USA: Where did the concept for the video come from?
PB: The concept for the video came from conversations between Clown and Corey. After they had a base concept down Clown and I met up and discussed where we could take it and how to flesh it out. I wrote the treatment based on their ideas and fleshed out the story to have the strongest impact we could get.
RR USA Why did you choose to do a short film as opposed to a traditional video?
This song has very deep roots to it. There is such a personal connection to the lyrics and we felt that the only way to truly capture that on film was to reveal it through a story. The viewer needed to connect to a core emotional level to fully appreciate the intensity of the track.
RR USA: How was the approach different in shooting this as a film?
PB: We looked at this as a short film from the very beginning. That meant that every trick we know about doing music videos and connecting to the sound could not apply in this film. We literally wanted to tell a story and from the shoot through the edit we focused on the story guiding the pace. In music videos shots usually last only a second or two, in this film there are scenes that need to play out for twenty seconds to really feel the loss and sadness.
RR USA: How was the experience different from say ‘Psychosocial’ or ‘Sulfur’?
PB: ‘Psychosocial’ and ‘Sulfur’ were raw, blistering, almost primal visualizations of the sound from the songs. The passion of the band became the story for those videos. For this, we had to go to a completely different place.
RR USA: On this album cycle we’ve seen Corey’s face twice – how did that transition come to be?
PB: I feel like we are seeing the evolution of the band. There are times that the metaphorical mask is just as important to show as the one we see on a regular basis. The strength of this band is that they understand that the form of a mask has many faces.
RR USA: Was there any different equipment used to get the cinematic look?
PB: We pushed quite hard to shoot this film on super 35mm anamorphic. It was crucial to the story for the viewer to really feel as if they are watching a film. Visually we needed the film to have a cinematic edge in order to present such a bold concept to the viewers.
RR USA: How does the collaboration process work between you and Clown?
PB: Clown and I have become very good friend over the course of this last album cycle. From my perspective we feel like brothers in one creative family. He and I see the world through very similar glasses and both of us embrace the pain and hard work that it takes to get our artistic statements out. We have done a few videos together but this one really went to a whole new level of collaboration. I think he and I both could see where this needed to go and I honestly can’t think of one thing throughout the entire process that we disagreed on. It has a complete honor for me to be able to make art with someone who I fully respect and cherish as a friend.
RR USA: How do you think the die-hard Slipknot fan will react to the video?
PB: I think there will be two very different responses to this film. Some will understand the need to push boundaries and explore the unknown while striving to grow. Others I think will have a hard time with it as they love what they love and changing that does not make them happy. Ultimately I feel like the band will only get stronger as a result of this very unique experience and I think that both camps of thought will gain from the benefits of this journey.
RR USA: Is there anything specific you hope people take away from the video?
PB: I would hope that the viewers of this film will be placed into a stunned moment of reflection and question their own personal path.
The short film ‘Snuff’ is now available to buy on iTunes. The single will be available on all the usual digital platforms on March 14th.